At Soulside, our herbal tinctures are made with a special process called Spagyrics that was developed during the 1400s. This alchemical process goes far beyond typical tincture distilling and uses ancient principles to separate and recombine all of the parts of the plant to create the most potent and powerful medicinal tinctures possible.
We didn’t just want our tinctures to be good, we wanted them to be unique, exceptional and effective in our customers’ lives.
Most of the tinctures you see on shelves are made with a much simpler extraction method. This isn’t bad and you can certainly benefit from plants distilled this way, but you aren’t getting the most out of your plant medicine, because aspects of the plant (like the minerals) are distilled out during the extraction process and then discarded.
The word “Spagyrics” comes from the ancient Greek roots spao “to draw out” and ageiro “to gather”. In essence, it translates to the concept of extracting constituents of the plants and then recombining them in a concentrated form that is the final medicine you receive in the bottle.
All herbal extractions go through a refining process, but the spagyric process goes a step further. Following extraction, mineral salts from the plant that contain important medicinal properties are left separated from the tincture. Spagyrics then burns the plant matter (a step called calcination) and reduces the plant to white ash and soluble minerals. All of these constituents are then recombined together to create a genuinely full-spectrum tincture that utilizes all aspects of the plant. Nothing is left behind.
Utilizing the full essence of the plant boosts our products’ bioavailability and means that you are getting the complete medicinal properties of the plants in the tinctures, rather than just an aspect of them.
Though our tinctures are produced in a lab that is very modern and science-y, the herbalists who create them are intentional and connected to the natural rhythms of the plants and the natural world to create tinctures that embody the intention that we have for them. There is more “spirit” and intention in the spagyric process; it goes beyond simply using the plants for their biochemical pharmaceutical uses in a less expensive, less effective and faster process of preparation.
As the creators and producers of these products, we can rest knowing that we are offering some of the cleanest, most powerful and truly best tinctures on the market. We know that there aren’t any shortcuts in our process or ingredients, which makes it easy to bring them into our community with confidence.
If you want to dive deeper into the nitty-gritty of Spagyrics, keep reading.
Now you understand the basic concept of Spagyrics: to separate and recombine. But it is much more complicated than this. To understand Spagyrics more completely, we must start with the understanding that it is a true alchemical process using complex principles and practices of alchemy.
What is alchemy?
Alchemy is an ancient system that unites the worlds of science and spirituality. Alchemy was the original science (forerunner to chemistry) that was also considered a sacred science. Not only was there an observation and understanding of the scientific properties of our natural world, but there was also a deeper meaning, purpose, and understanding that all material matter also has a spirit.
Understanding Alchemy and the alchemical process requires one to think critically and often move past the limitations of traditional western medical propaganda.
Sajah of Evolutionary Herbalism writes, “Alchemy can offer herbalism a critically important balance of being able to look at a plant and understand it on a pharmacological biochemical level but also to understand the spiritual side of that plant, to see it as a living, sentient, conscious being that has the capacity to heal us on the spiritual level as well as the physiological level.” (Alchemy and Herbalism Part 1 - The Science and Spirituality of Herbalism)
Alchemy uses three ancient philosophical principles: Mercury, Sulfur, and Salt. In the alchemical tradition, everything in the universe can be organized into these three basic principles.
For the sake of tinctures, it looks like this:
Mercury = Alcohol
Sulfur = Essential Oils
Salt = Mineral Salts
Going a step further, the mercury represents the spirit of the plants, the sulfur is the soul, and the salt, the body.
Okay, so this has gotten complicated. What does it look like in terms of the actual herbal tincture creation process?
Step One: Alcohol
Spagyric processing begins with fermenting the plants to extract the essential oils. Traditionally, the plants sit in alcohol for at least three weeks to extract all of their medicinal properties, but our lab uses a fancy machine called a Soxhlet to speed the process.
Step Two: Calcination
Next up is calcination. The plant matter is then removed from the alcohol liquid it was sitting in and burned in a two-step process - first to black ash and then to white ash. Distilled water is used to filter the white ash and is then evaporated, rendering the mineral salts of the plant to be used in the tincture.
Step Three: Recombine
The mineral salts are now recombined with the liquid that contains the essential oils and the alcohol. This is done with an intention ceremony to enhance the potency and power of the herbal tincture.
As you can see, Spagyrics is not a fast process, nor one that takes any shortcuts. It stands on the principle that combining the highest quality ingredients with an artful and intentional process, one that honors the natural cycles of time and infuses mindful energy, is what produces the most potent and complementary medicine.
Importantly, Spagyrics combines the body, spirit, and soul of the plants, rather than distilling out one aspect and just using that. The entire biosphere of the ingredient is taken into consideration.
We are truly honored that we have the opportunity to utilize such ancient knowledge and practices to create products that meet the demands of our modern everyday lives. We love knowing that we are adding the highest quality tinctures to the marketplace so that our customers receive the full spectrum medicine of the magical plants that we use in our formulations.